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Jul 31, 2010 12:06 PM

What's Good To Eat Near The Museum of Science & Industry

Hi again all,
We've got our itinerary of restaurants pretty much set for our trip this week, but the one area I've been drawing a bit of a blank on is near the Museum of Science & Industry.

When we were in town a few years ago, we went to a place called Medici on a recommendation and found it flat and unappetizing, but also noticed there wasn't really much around there to begin with.

Of course, things change, so I was wondering if you could suggest some tasty lunch eats in the area? We'll be visiting during the week this time, instead of on a Sunday morning like the last, but it will still be a lunchtime meal.

To give you an idea of the context of our trip, 90% of the reason we're coming is to eat (and we love Chicago), 10% to sightsee. We'll be going to Alinea, Xoco, Publican, Hot Doug's, Grahamwich, Black Dog Gelato, Fat Willy's, Mercat ala Planxa and possibly Mado.

Last time we were in town we hit the more touristy restaurants and attractions, like Uno, Lou Mitchell's, 11th St Diner, and a few others, so this time we're looking to go a bit different.

Cost is no object, just a place accepting of nut and shellfish allergies is key.

Thanks all!

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Hot Doug's
3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Lou Mitchell's Restaurant
565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661

Mado Restaurant
1647 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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  1. >> the one area I've been drawing a bit of a blank on is near the Museum of Science & Industry.

    See the Hyde Park discussion at Although much of it is a few years old, it's also been updated over the past year or so.

    >> Hot Doug's

    I assume you'll be there this coming week, because they'll be closed for vacation August 8-24. Bring a friend and/or a book, and allow at least 90 minutes in line.

    BTW, Lou Mitchell's and 11th Street Diner are not "touristy", and don't particularly have a lot of out-of-towners among their patrons. You'll find far more at Hot Doug's, Publican, and Alinea.

    Enjoy your visit!

    1. There's not much I'd recommend around the MSI. It's odd, but Hyde Park is kind of a culinary wasteland.

      If you're coming from the north, you may want to stop in Chinatown. I like Lao Sze Chun, Moon Palace and Emperors Choice. Others have their favorites.See the discussion at

      Moon Palace Restaurant
      216 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

      1 Reply
      1. re: chicgail

        I wouldn't call it a culinary wasteland. But part of the problem is the best restaurants (Park 52, the Original Pancake House, and Calypso Cafe / Dixie Kitchen) are up around Harper Court (just west of the Metra tracks and past 53rd Street) and not all that close to the museum, so you may want to drive there rather than walk. So if you're looking for convenience, the food court in the museum may be your best bet (and for lunch, when they're making sandwiches to order, how bad can they be?).

        Otherwise, if you're driving to lunch anyway, chicgail's suggestion of Chinatown is a fine one, and right on the way from downtown. Another excellent (and BYO) place that's on the way and not too far from Hyde Park and the museum is Amelia's at 46th and Halsted, and it wouldn't be all that far out of the way to go to Mundial Cocina Mestiza in Pilsen. Both of these offer creative provincial Mexican food, and both are open for lunch. I've posted detailed reports on dinners at both these restaurants in the discussion at


      2. Piccolo Mondo is practically right across the street from MSI. It has had its ups and downs over the years, but if you want to stay in the neighborhood, you might want to give it a try. The last time I was there (about 8 months ago) I had an excellent pasta with olives and capers:

        A couple of blocks further north in the 55th street shopping center is La Petite Folie, a highly rated white-tablecloth restaurant that has, at least in the past, served good and simple, French-inspired lunches.

        La Petite Folie
        1504 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615

        Piccolo Mondo
        1642 E 56th St Ste 1, Chicago, IL 60637

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbw

          A couple of places I don't think anyone has mentioned are a fairly new Asian Fusion restaurant, Chant, and a well established middle eastern one, Cedars of Lebanon. Both are on 53rd St., a short drive but a pretty long walk from the museum. Here are their web sites:

          Asian Fusion
          4601 Lincoln Hwy, Matteson, IL 60443